Day: August 8, 2009

Sangseung Ilro Stalks the Grand Slam

She’s kept a low-profile since running away with the Korean Derby in May but on Sunday evening, Sangseung Ilro, holder of the first two legs of the Triple Crown, returns to her own ranks when she lines up for the Korean Oaks at Busan Race Park. If she wins, she’ll go back north to Seoul and the Minister’s Cup in October to race not only for the Triple Crown but also, with the Oaks included, what’s being termed the “Grand Slam”.

Can anyone beat her tomorrow? Probably not. Most see Pangpang, who ran fourth in the Derby and has kicked on since as being her closest rival. Of the others, Leading Velocity has won at class 2 level and Suryeohan has come close – as has Haneul Gisang. Lady In Gala looks to have plenty of potential. All look weak in a form guide alongside Sangseung Ilro.

Eiki Nishimura, who partnered Sangseung Ilro to her unexpected win in the KRA Cup Mile was jocked off for the Derby. With the race being run in Seoul, many believed that the notoriously strong Seoul Jockeys’ Union had been behind pressure on owner and trainer to replace the Japanese rider with a local one for Korea’s biggest race. Jo Sung Gon rode her flawlessly on Derby day and no blame is attached to him for what went on behind the scenes, but Eiki is back on tomorrow. It’s a well earned opportunity for a quiet rider who, afer a tough beginning in Korea, has worked to become one of Busan’s best jockeys.

The trainer is Kim Young Gwan. Currently presiding over Busan’s best string – he also has Namdo Jeap and Miss Ecton in his care – Kim also sends out Haneul Gisang. She will be ridden by Martin Wepner. After an unfortunate series of events led to Wepner walking out of Seoul – and almost Korea – before he was due to ride Namdo Jeap in the Derby, Kim stepped in and offered Wepner the job of stable jockey. While Wepner won’t ride Namdo Jeap again, with Haneul Gisang likely to be battling for the place positions, we could see another Kim Young Gwan, Eiki and Wepner 1,2.

The race is off at 19:15 under the lights at Busan and will be simulcast to Seoul Race Park. Here is the full list of runners, records and riders:

Korean Oaks (G.II) – Busan Race Park – 1800M – Aug 9, 2009 – 19:15

1. Rose Cat [Creek Cat – Rose Bouton (Somethingdifferent)] – (9/2/2/1) – Yoon Tae Hyuk
2. Suryeohan [Commendable – Diamond Star (Dixieland Band)] – (9/2/2/2) – Chae Gyu Jun
3. Lady In Gala [Didyme – Phlox (Just Like Jo)] – (10/2/1/) – Park Geum Man
4. Hanmoe [Tahamkke – Wolmunsabang (Didyme)] – (12/1/2/3) – Lee Sung Jae
5. Haneul Gisang [Duality – Birrali (Rutland)] – (7/2/3/0) – Martin Wepner
6. Solar City [Ft. Stockton – Taeyangsan (Mujaazif)] – (9/0/1/4) – Jo Sung Gon
7. Hero Age [Buster’s Daydream – No Dle Seum (Brave Regent)] – (10/0/2/0) – Jung Si Won
8. Pangpang [Revere – Awishnotalark (Rio’s Lark)] – (15/3/1/1) – Han Sang Gyu
9. Sangseung Ilro [Concept Win – Ms. Whiskey (Whiskey Wisdom)] – (7/5/1/1) – Eiki Nishimura
10. Leading Velocity [Fiercely – Barefoot Runaway (Strike Gold)] – (11/3/2/1) – Jo Chan Hoon
11. Naechingu [Creek Cat – Roberto’s Flame (Green Dancer)] – (7/1/1/4) – Jo Chang Wook
12. Hwangjeui Seonmul [Social Charter – She’s A Bridesmaid (Chromite)] – (13/2/2/0) – Kim Eu Su

On the undercard of the Oaks is the International Lady Jockey Invitation Race. Most see it as being a straight fight between the two Kim Young Gwan horses Namdo Jeap (Park Jin Hee) and Miss Ecton (Laura Cheshire). Nine others will have something to say about that. The Invitation race is off at 18:10 and will also be simulcasted to Seoul.

Torpedo Mast is First Class

Grey steps up while KRA wants Punters to clean up – literally
Torpedo Mast pulled off a surprise win in this evening’s feature race at Seoul Race Park. A win at class 2 last month had qualified the grey for the top level of Korean racing and at his first class 1 attempt, he comfortably held off favourite Bulpaegisang for a two length win. As usual, Gamadongja made all the running and stayed on for third place.

Four year old Torpedo Mast (USA) [Mizzen Mast – Valid Deduction (Bet Big)] has finished in the money in all but three of his twenty outings. He’s never been earmarked as a potential star but after a commanding performance over a field including not only Bulpaegisang and Gamadongja but also such luminaries as Baekjeonmupae, Angus Empire and Seoul Teukgeup, it’s unlikely he’ll be sent off at odds of 25/1 again.

In other news on a sticky afternoon and evening at Seoul, young jockey Park Sang Woo scored his first ever winner landing race 7 on Black Cat. On the way to post for that race Choi Beom Hyun was violently thrown from his mount in front of the grandstand. Although motionless on the track for several minutes, Choi emerged unhurt and, to punters’ amazement, reappeared to win race 10 on Nice Good.

A larger than usual Saturday crowd were in attendance after the blank weekend last week. To welcome everybody back, the KRA gave away a gift set to each and every one of the 50,000 in attendance. A nice touch – and quite an impressive logistical operation. However, given that the contents of the gift set comprised of soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, a razor, shower gel and various similar items, punters could be forgiven for thinking the racing authority was trying to tell them something.